Is Intermittent Fasting Safe for People With Diabetes?


  • Losing weight can lower the chance of developing diabetic problems, which may be aided by intermittent fasting.
  • Intermittent fasting is safe, however because blood sugar levels fluctuate before, during, and after fasting periods, patients with diabetes may be at risk of hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia.
  • The long-term dangers and advantages of intermittent fasting for patients with diabetes require further study.

A type of diet called intermittent fasting entails restricting your mealtimes and then going for a set amount of time without eating much at all. The duration of the fasting phase can range from a few hours to several days.

According to certain studies, intermittent fasting may help diabetics lose weight among other things. However, significant dietary changes may result in hazardous fluctuations in blood sugar levels.

So, is it safe for those with diabetes to practice intermittent fasting?

Continue reading to find out more about the advantages and disadvantages of intermittent fasting for type 2 diabetes.

Is IF safe for those with diabetes?

People with diabetes may face some dangers from intermittent fasting.

Blood sugar levels may go excessively low if you use insulin or other drugs and suddenly consume much less than usual. It is known as hypoglycemia.

Doctor states that hypoglycemia can result in symptoms like:

  • shakiness 
  • confusion
  • irritability
  • fast heartbeat, anxiousness, perspiration, and chills
  • dizziness
  • fatigue poor energy blurry eyesight
  • nausea

High blood sugar levels are yet another potential risk of intermittent fasting in diabetics. It is referred to as hyperglycemia.

If you eat more than you usually do, which may be likely to happen if you’re very hungry after a time of fasting, hyperglycemia can result.

Your risk of developing diabetes complications, including the following:

  • nerve injury (neuropathy)
  • blindness and eye issues
  • renal illness
  • heart condition stroke
  • High blood pressure

Consider scheduling a consultation with a doctor or dietitian who is part of your diabetes care team before beginning any diet or weight loss programme to ensure that it is healthy for you.

Intermittent fasting for diabetes
Intermittent fasting for diabetes

Can a sporadic fast lead to diabetes?

Intermittent fasting may affect the pancreas and insulin resistance, according to some preliminary animal study, but additional research is required to establish how it affects human diabetes.

In a 12-week study, Trusted Source examined the effects of fasting on rats. It was discovered that the rats’ belly fat had increased, their insulin-producing pancreatic cells had been harmed, and they showed insulin resistance symptoms.

It’s significant to highlight that if humans had participated in the same experiment, the results might have been different. If persons who practice intermittent fasting have a higher risk of developing diabetes, more study is required to confirm this.

Can diabetes be cured by intermittent fasting?

Some people’s diabetes may be able to go into remission with intermittent fasting, maybe as a result of weight loss.

Three type 2 diabetics who used insulin and fasted at least three times each week were examined by Trusted Source. They were no longer dependent on insulin after a month.

Additionally, they saw improvements in their HbA1C levels, waist circumference, and body mass index (BMI). The individuals each shed roughly 10% of their body weight after several months.

The sample size in that study was too limited to draw any firm conclusions regarding how intermittent fasting could affect most diabetics.

A larger study conducted in 2018 discovered, however, that over half of type 2 diabetics who dropped weight were able to stop using their diabetes medications and enter remission.

Intermittent fasting can reduce calorie intake, which may aid in weight loss and improve the chances of remission for those who have diabetes.

However, other methods of losing weight might also assist in curing diabetes.

Because everyone is unique, what works best for you might not be the same as what does. To find out which approach could be best for you, speak with a healthcare provider or nutritionist.

What is Intermittent fasting ?

When you fast, you refrain from eating, drinking, or both for an extended period of time. People may choose to fast for a number of reasons, including:as a religious ritual in advance of an operation or an attempt to lose weight to in some other manner enhance health

A practice of eating called intermittent fasting entails periods of eating little or nothing, followed by regular meals. In contrast to many other diets, it typically focuses more on regulating the times that you eat and drink than the actual things that you put on your plate.

By limiting calories, intermittent fasting is frequently used to lose weight. There are hazards associated, but it may offer some advantages to those who have diabetes.

Types of diabetes intermittent fasting diets

Although there are many different types of intermittent fasting diets, none have been shown to be particularly effective for those with diabetes.

Several popular intermittent fasting diets are listed below:

intermittent fasting at 16:8. On this regimen, all meals are consumed within an 8-hour window, followed by a 16-hour fast. Many people retain their eating window between noon and 8pm then fast from 8pm till noon the following day.

a 5:2 alternating fast. This involves eating regular meals for five days, followed by two days of fasting in which you consume no more than 500 calories per day.

fasting on alternate days. This is followed by 24 hours of eating normally after spending the first 24 hours fasting or consuming little to no food.

Early, capped-time feeding (eTRF). Your mealtimes are therefore limited to the morning and early afternoon, with the remainder of the day and night being a fast.

What advantages does intermittent fasting have for people with diabetes?

Intermittent fasting may help those with diabetes in various ways when carried out safely. People might be able to use less diabetes medication if the dietary regimen results in weight loss.

According to the tiny study on three persons described previously, after intermittently fasting for a month or so, some people have been able to quit needing insulin.

If intermittent fasting can assist the majority of diabetics in quitting taking insulin, further study is required to confirm this claim.

Additional advantages include:

  • increased sensitivity to insulin
  • blood pressure reduction
  • oxidative stress is reduced
  • diminished appetite
  • higher oxidation of fat

Further study is required to assess the long-term advantages of intermittent fasting on glucose control and diabetic complications.

Advice on how to intermittent fast when having diabetes

Here are some suggestions if you have diabetes and are considering trying intermittent fasting:

  • Discuss changing the dosage of your medication or insulin with your healthcare professional. If you try a diet that may have an impact on your blood sugar levels, you may need to alter your diabetes therapy.
  • Check the levels of your blood sugar. Check your glucose levels frequently because prolonged fasting might lead to dangerously low blood sugar levels.
  • Observe your mood. Many people discover that limiting their food consumption can significantly impact their mood. Keep an eye out for symptoms including impatience, increased worry, and trouble with stress.
  • Keep an eye on your energies. You might want to keep this in mind if you’re driving or using machinery because fasting can make you feel tired.
  • Maintain a carbohydrate balance. The conversion of carbohydrates into glucose by your body might cause a rise in blood sugar. Try to balance starchy carbohydrates with vegetables and protein in your meals when you aren’t fasting to prevent high blood sugar.

The Takeaway

You can control your diabetes by losing weight through intermittent fasting.

One case study revealed that a few diabetic individuals were able to discontinue using insulin with the help of intermittent fasting. Still, additional study is required.

Intermittent fasting is safe, however because blood sugar levels fluctuate before, during, and after fasting periods, patients with diabetes may be at risk of hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia.

The author is a Lead Ayurveda Specialist at Diabetes Reversal Clinics & EliteAyurveda Clinics. With over 15 years of experience in treating endocrine & diabetes cases

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